Can Your Pet Have Allergies?

Your pet is an essential part of your family and you want to do whatever it takes ensure she is healthy. Which is why you may start to worry about your pet's sneeze. Is it a cold or an allergy?

It's not only people who suffer from allergies. Dogs can also respond to a variety of triggers, ranging from foods to fleas to environmental factors, explains Richard S. Goldstein, DVM, who runs the Mobile Vet Squad in Westchester County, NY.

The Widespread Problem

As many as 20 percent of all pets have some type of allergy, according to the ASPCA. In dogs, allergies usually surface in the first few years of life, but even adult dogs can suddenly exhibit the symptoms, which can appear similar to those experienced by people. The main difference, of course, is that he can't tell you what's bothering him, so you'll have to play detective to get to the root of the problem.

Common signs of allergies in dogs include:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Your veterinarian can help you determine the source of these ailments by thoroughly examining your dog and considering her medical history. Blood or skin tests may also be necessary.

Treating the Problem

Depending on the problem, there are simple changes you can make to help your pet feel better. For instance, for suspected food allergies, eliminate certain foods from your dog's diet or use special prescription food.

For indoor and seasonal allergies, banish dust mites and mold from your home by cleaning often and filtering the air. Wash your pet often and have her groomed regularly to remove any triggers that can be trapped in her hair and skin.

Flea allergies are best prevented before they kick in, since the itchiness and irritation from a flea bite can last for several weeks. Using flea control products during the warmer months can be effective. (In warmer parts of the countries, this means all year long.)

Long-Term Control

While some pets will respond well to these simple ways to prevent symptoms, others may need more ongoing allergy-control strategies. If your dog falls into the latter group, talk to your vet about other treatment options, such as using antihistamines or having your dog receive regular allergy injections.




"Animal Dermatology Chat Transcript." ASPCA. ASPCA, 12 July 2007. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.

 "Itching' and Scratchin': Does Your Pet Suffer from Allergies?" ASPCA Blog. ASPCA, 28 July 2009. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.

"Just Like in People, Dogs Also Suffer from Allergies to Food, Pollen. . . and Cats!" ASPCA Blog. ASPCA, 15 April 2010. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.